EDIS is a coalition of organisations working to improve equality, diversity and inclusion within the science and health research sector, originally established by The Francis Crick Institute research centre, independent funder Wellcome Trust, and our commercial partners GlaxoSmithKline.
Advance HE is the higher education sector agency formed from the merger of the Equality Challenge Unit, Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in early 2018. Advance HE’s charitable objective is to support strategic change and continuous improvement through the development of individuals and organisations of higher education.
Advance HE manages the Race Equality Charter and Athena Swan Charter to “help the higher education and research sectors address racial and gender inequality, including the underrepresentation and lack of progression and success of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students, and the gender imbalance at senior levels and in certain subjects”.
“Runnymede is the UK's leading independent race equality think tank. We generate intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.”
In 2015 Runnymede published “Aiming Higher Race, Inequality and Diversity in the Academy”. Much of the report is on the student experience in Higher Education. There is also a section on Staff, with three articles each with recommendations: ‘The Experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic Academics: Multiple Identities and Career Progression’, Kalwant Bhopal; ‘Creating Space and Providing Opportunities for BME Academics in Higher Education’, Jason Arday; ‘Breaking the Race Inequality Cycle in Higher Education: A Change of Focus is Needed to Break the Statistical Groundhog Day’, Gary Loke.
The Royal Academy of Engineering is one of the learned societies in the UK and is now involved in a commission to address the under-representation of Black people in the STEM sector:
“The Royal Academy of Engineering is partnering with Lewis Hamilton MBE HonFREng to launch the Hamilton Commission, a research project that will work to identify the key barriers to recruitment and progression of Black people in UK motorsport, and provide actionable recommendations to overcome them. Motorsport is unique in the range of roles and responsibilities in a team, particularly for individuals specialising in STEM subjects. The Hamilton Commission presents an opportunity to simultaneously address the under-representation of Black people in UK motorsport and the STEM sector.”
There are a number of learned societies in the group I have looked at. Two very prominent ones have no people of colour on their most senior boards. They are no doubt clever enough to explain the reasons for this; but if doing so, they make a mistake.
The Parker Review led by Sir John Parker is “A Report into the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards” published in 2017. In early 2020 an update report from the Parker Review team was published “Ethnic Diversity Enriching Business Leadership”.
From Sir John Parker’s 2020 Foreword: “I sincerely believe that, at a time when the UK needs business to make a crucial contribution, and when public confidence in the market economy is at best fragile, attaining our goal of “One by 21” is more than socially desirable. It is an essential element in our country’s economic future, and the esteem in which our companies are held around the world. We can and must act without further delay ... The business imperatives which we originally set out could not be clearer: 1. Greater alignment with our customer base at home and overseas. 2. Recognising the changes and growing talent pool of ethnically diverse candidates in our home and overseas markets which will influence recruitment patterns for years to come.”
In 2017 the Parker Review set the challenge as follows: “to ensure that by the end of 2021, no member of the FTSE 100 would lack a person of colour as a director. We also encouraged FTSE 250 companies to meet this target by 2024.”
The Parker Review data analysis by EY Consulting in 2020 is based on survey responses; while response rates were high, they do not have a complete data set. Of the responses, 37% of FTSE100 companies did not meet the target; 69% of FTSE 250 Companies did not meet the target. It is not going very well.
The CBI launched Change the Race Ratio in late 2020. Its aim is to accelerate racial diversity in business. Leaders from leading business organisations are joining, committed to taking action to increase racial and ethnic participation in their businesses. There are four commitments: increase racial and ethnic diversity among Board members; increase racial and ethnic diversity in senior leadership; be transparent on targets and actions; create an inclusive culture I which talent from all diversities can thrive. Universities, research bodies, charities, and TTOs could do this.
Green Park is a London based leadership consulting and recruitment firm. In February 2021 the Green Park Annual Business Leaders Index records no black chairs, CEOs or CFOs at FTSE 100 companies. That is zero out of 300 people. This is for the first time in six years of analysis.
The 30% Club is all about gender diversity. The 30% Club was founded in 2010 in the UK and has since evolved into a global mission with chapters in many regions around the world. “Our global mission is to reach at least 30% representation of all women on all boards and C-suites globally.”
The Why 30% question is an interesting point in relation to racial diversity. From the 30% Club website: “WHY 30%? When the campaign originally launched in the UK back in 2010, there were just 12% women on FTSE 100 boards and 30% felt like an aspirational stretch target. At that time, we also identified research suggesting that 30% represents a critical mass from which point minority groups can impact boardroom dynamics. Our 30% target is a minimum objective - it represents a floor not a ceiling – ultimately, we are striving for gender balance. Sadly, to this day, 30% women - either at board or senior management level - remains a stretch for many organisations throughout the world.”
The 30% Club website homepage currently has a notice about racism. “At the 30% Club there is no room for racism. We can’t stand by and watch the brutality of police towards Black people in the US without making it clear that all people are created equal, yet the world does not treat them this way. As we decide our UK targets for the next three years, we feel the time has come to set goals that make clear our commitment to ethnic diversity. At the same time our Inclusion & Diversity working group is taking a deep dive on the issues faced by Black people and other executives from the BAME community, as they attempt to climb the corporate ladder and join boards. We will share our findings and recommendations within the next six months.”